The NK cell-activating receptor NKG2D recognizes several MHC class I-related molecules expressed on virally infected and tumor cells. Human NKG2D transduces activation signals exclusively via an associated DAP10 adaptor containing a YxNM motif, whereas murine NKG2D can signal through either DAP10 or the DAP12 adaptor, which contains an ITAM sequence. DAP10 signaling is thought to be mediated, at least in part, by PI3K and is independent of Syk/Zap-70 kinases; however, the exact mechanism by which DAP10 induces natural cytotoxicity is incompletely understood. Herein, we identify Vav1, a Rho GTPase guanine nucleotide exchange factor, as a critical signaling mediator downstream of DAP10 in NK cells. Specifically, using mice deficient in Vav1 and DAP12, we demonstrate an essential role for Vav1 in DAP10-induced NK cell cytoskeletal polarization involving both actin and microtubule networks, maturation of the cytolytic synapse, and target cell lysis. Mechanistically, we show that Vav1 interacts with DAP10 YxNM motifs through the adaptor protein Grb2 and is required for activation of PDK-dependent Akt signaling. Based on these findings, we propose a novel model of ITAM-independent signaling by Vav downstream of DAP10 in NK cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy